What is Mindfulness?

It is:

  • paying attention
  • on purpose
  • in the present moment
  • with curiosity and kindness
  • to things as they are

A better name for mindfulness might be ‘bodyfulness’ or ‘heartfulness’ because it involves coming to our senses through the Body by:

Looking, Listening, Feeling Sensations, Tasting, Smelling

and also through the Mind by being more Aware and Awake. Through attention to mind we become more aware of:

*Thoughts *emotions *our breathing

Key Skill: to maintain open-hearted awareness in the moment, shaped by curiosity and compassion

Mindfulness practice aims to be: gentle, appreciative, nurturing

It is not about trying to get anywhere – but simply being aware of where we are and allowing ourselves to be where and as we are. Mindfulness is about noticing how we are relating to our experience and letting go of any resistance or attachment to how things are.

We don’t try to hold onto positive experiences nor do we try to reject or change difficult experiences. It is not about switching off or spacing out but rather about fully embracing whatever is happening for us right now.

Awareness of breathing helps us to achieve this because it:

  • Brings us back to the Here and Now
  • Connects us with the physical sensations of being in our body
  • Acts as a haven or anchor that we can use to centre ourselves

Fundamental to Mindfulness is compassion for self and others

(Notes adapted from the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn)

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Dominic Cogan

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